The retail sale of alcoholic beverages (generally, any beverage with greater than 0.5% alcohol by volume) is regulated by the state government.
Within the government of the State of Florida, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT).
The ABT is the agency responsible for licensing the alcoholic beverage industry, for collection and auditing of taxes and fees paid by the licensees, and for enforcing the laws and regulations of the alcoholic beverage industry.
To sell your beverages, you need a retail license in Florida
Before selling alcoholic beverages within the State of Florida, the retailer (and the owners and managers of the retailer) must be approved by the ABT.
Upon approval, the ABT will issue a different license type to the applicant depending on the types of beverages which can be sold and whether consumption is allowed on premises:
- A 1COP for beer only, consumption on premises
- A 2COP for beer and wine, consumption on premises
- A 4COP for beer, wine and liquor, consumption on premises.
How to obtain your ABT Florida retail license
The approval process involves submitting an Application for New Alcoholic Beverage License to the ABT.
This application must be completed, executed and submitted in hard copy. If the application is made for a Temporary License (which allows the applicant to begin operations prior to final approval), the application must be filed with a filing fee equal to ¼ the annual license fee.
Retail license submission process
The ABT’s application requires detailed information about the retailer’s corporate structure and management, capitalization, and premises.
In addition, copies of a number of other documents must be provided to the TTB, including the applicant’s owners’ agreement, premises lease or deed, and floor plan for the premises. The ABT also reserves the right to request additional information regarding the applicant or any owner or manager of the applicant. If the retailer has already been approved for a manufacturer license, the application and an update sheet may be all that is required.
Before filing the ABT’s application, three other agencies must indicate approval by signing the application. Prior approval is required by the local zoning authority, Department of Revenue, and county health department. The principal owners and managers of the applicant must be fingerprinted, in most cases using the electronic LiveScan system.
The ABT’s application is most often submitted to the ABT’s divisional office for the county in which the manufacturer is located. Prior to approving the application, the ABT’s enforcement section will conduct a live inspection of the premises, unless it has recently inspected the premises in connection with a manufacturing license. Generally, the application is approved and the license issued within 30 days of submission. Once the license is issued, the applicant has 15 days to pay the licensing fee.
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